Test Valley

Lower Test  by Peter EmeryThe River Test is one of Europe’s great chalk rivers, and one of the most species-rich lowland rivers in England.

The River Test is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and its banks feature more than 100 species of mosses, liverworts and flowering plants. The Lower Test Marshes Nature Reserve is an extensive area of reedbed and intertidal habitats which support internationally important numbers of over wintering waders and wildfowl.

We are working hard in the Test Valley to create bigger, better and more joined-up habitats for wildlife. Our work includes restoring and reconnecting habitats, improving the River Anton, providing advice to landowners and farmers, and helping to educate the wider community about the importance of conservation.

Where is it?

The Test Valley Living landscape encompasses the River Test chalk river system and its valley as it flows south from the chalk downs of north-west Hampshire through peaty calcareous soils, fen meadows, commons and ancient woods, to the Lower Test marshes and the Solent estuary. The lower part of the area contains remnant mires and wet heaths that were once part of the New Forest.

Nature reserves

Broughton Down By Brian ShorterBroughton Down - a steep chalk slope, covering approximately 24 hectares. It contains a range of chalk grassland habitats supporting a rich chalk grassland flora with areas of encroaching scrub and established woodland.

Baddesley Common and Emer Bog - one of the largest areas of heathland, bog, acid grassland and woodland mosaic in Hampshire outside of the New Forest.

Testwood Lakes - a former gravel working site, Testwood is now a mix of meadows, woodlands and lakes supporting a wide variety of wildlife. The reserve also contains one of our three Education Centres.

Lower Test Marshes - one of the most extensive reed beds on the south coast, covering approximately 162 hectares. It is intersected by tidal creeks and flooded by spring tides, and is bordered by unimproved meadowland.